Undone - The Sweater Song

Album: Weezer (The Blue Album) (1994)
Charted: 35 57
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  • This song is about going insane in public. Here's some lyric analysis:

    "If you want to destroy my sweater, hold this thread as I walk away" - Keep doing what you're doing as I drift further into insanity.

    "Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked" - Watch me drift into insanity, I'll soon be there, "naked" being full insanity.

    "Lying on the floor, I've come undone" - Lying on the floor, I've become mentally undone.
  • The opening dialogue is used to show how he is at a party, losing it, and no one notices or cares. The two verses are used to show how he's barely able to think and talk straight on his descent. The part about "I don't want to destroy your tank-top" is showing how other people are on the brink of insanity already, but he's not "pushing them off" like they are to him; then, "To see you lying there in your Superman skivvies" shows how everyone is on the brink of insanity to begin with, even more so then he was in his "sweater." The music helps illustrate the ever-maddening mind of the guy, as it starts out normal, then at the end is hard, dark, and mad-sounding, showing his slow descent into madness. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Derek - Pittsburgh, PA, for above 2
  • Many of the promotional singles sent to radio stations contained an edit that cut the guitar solo short. This was a distribution error, but it didn't have much effect because most radio stations played the album version. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was the first Weezer song that Rivers Cuomo ever wrote, back in 1991. Three years later it was released as the band's first single.
  • Cuomo told Rolling Stone: "I was trying to write a Velvet Underground-type song because I was super into them, and I came up with that guitar riff. I just picked up that acoustic guitar and the first thing I played was that riff. And it just feels so classic to me, even now when the band starts to play it, it just takes over the energy in the room and you're just transported into the world of Weezer. It wasn't until years after I wrote it that I realized it's almost a complete rip-off of 'Sanitarium' by Metallica. It just perfectly encapsulates Weezer to me - you're trying to be cool like Velvet Underground but your metal roots just pump through unconsciously."
  • Cuomo told Billboard magazine: "It's been the case since our first album that people thought we were just being sarcastic and ironic. When I wrote 'The Sweater Song,' to me it was a very sad song about depression, and people heard it on the radio and thought it was hysterical."
  • This was used on the MTV series Undressed in the 1999 episode "If Words Could Kill #2."

Comments: 30

  • Wombat Willy from Floating In My Tin Can, Way Above The EarthI Have speculated on the meaning of the sweater song over the years. For me I picture this guy at a party walking away from from these two women he just talked to and they continue to talk about this guy while basically deconstructing him and labeling him so they can relate to him but they basically are destroying his reputation and saying humiliating things about him behind his back. They start out with one character flaw which is the one thread of sweater they hold but the more they talk and remember things they have heard in gossip about him, the more the sweater of his self esteem unravels until he is overanalyzed and picked apart totally undone and naked on the floor metaphorically.
  • Poppy Peep from San Antonio TexasI get a social anxiety vibe. I love Cuomo either way.
  • Bri Comiskey from MichiganI thought, maybe, from the talking toward the beginning, there was a party and the girl asks him to give her a ride, from which he ends up sleeping with her...but he has a girlfriend who found out about it. So he's telling her, if you want to destroy my sweater, he realizes he ruined his life...lying on the floor, he's come undone.
  • Hugh T from Pennsylvania Really I just took it as the guy hates social gatherings lol
  • Zero from The Abyss, NjI like John from Mesa, AZ interpretation the best, and also the one posted as a songfact. Those are the versions that resonate with me the most.
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkI've loved this song for years & I still hear it on alternative rock radio now. Songfacts says it's about going insane in public, but I've also heard other interpretations, such as one rock journalist said it was about not coping with super-stardom. Hmmm, strange. I don't see how that can be, but you know how bizarre the media people are these days! On "Undone" the guitar work is just so gut-busting good! Oh yeah, on the posting by "BubblesK" she must be one helluva girl to keep her guy liking Weezer by way of the "frying pan" method!
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnOoooo! Love this song. It was so cool when it came out as a single. Then I got the Blue Album. Back then, my boyfriend really hated this song for all the wrong reasons. What a dunce! We got into one helluva fight over it and I wasn't about to let him beat me up so I leveled him with my frying pan! Since then, he's loved the song. And I've loved Weezer ever since. And I also love "Say It Ain't So" which I still hear on radio a lot here. And my man still loves Weezer. LOL!
  • Richie from Batavia, Nywow...so i have a revolutionary take on this song.. songfacts may not find meaning to it for awhile,and i sure have not..but i do know this..the supposed distribution error was in the solo right? well what caused the distribution error at the END of the song..the part with all the cool echos and "piano" noises and sound effects like slamming noises..those were all sounds of a failing cd burning drive...i have a Predator cd-rw burner and while burning once..i ended up with nothing but those noises on the disc..i matched the waveforms and they are identical in structure and in sound..although ive noticed on versions with the FULL solo,this same phenomenon is present,which either means Weezer intentionally left this in the song (as i also thought about using it for something,cuz it sounds cool)or this IS the distribution error..as a result of a failing burner on the ORIGINAL copy.
  • A from Byram, Nji think this song is about being rejected by a girl, because back in the day if a guy liked a girl, he'd give her his sweater/jacket/whatever to wear. if she liked him, she'd wear it, but if she didn't like him she'd rip it up and give it back.
  • Brian from Vancouver, CanadaA, I think your referring to TIRED OF SEX, I dont understand this song though so I cant say
  • Amanda from Evergreen, CoI LOVE the sweater song!!!! its awesome to just jam out to!!!!!
  • A from Ellicott City, MdThis song is about sexual repression and being jaded about sex. The protagonist is apathetic and jaded, and ignores people around him because he just doesn't care. The guy he speaks with in the beginning is his opposite, and outgoing flirtatious sociable type. The protagonist used to be like him, but has now become tired of it. Any woman he comes across offers him a relationship and implied carnal relations, but he is too jaded to care, perhaps because of being hurt in previous relationships.

    The chorus is about how girls want to have sex and undress the protagonist, but he is not interested, and just goes along with it because the girl is doing all the work. "If you want to destroy my sweater, hold this thread as i walk away." He walks away from sex and relationships because hes had it all and it is nothing new or interesting.

    Basically, it explains how one who has had so many bad, flaky relationships cannot find a true, substantial one. Everywhere he goes he is surrounded by shallow chicks who love him and leave him "undone."
  • Benjamin from Monroe, Wai think john is totally right.. it is not about insanity. it's about being a loser.
  • John from Mesa, AzSONGS REAL MEANING!!!!!
    If you will follow the writer of this song?s life (Rivers) and all his songs and not just read into this one song you will figure out what it means which I did. Johnhale_6@yahoo.com. The start of the song has Rivers at a party where he is approached by an old friend. The old friend is way chill and can socialize easily. He comes up and is like hey man how?s it going etc etc etc. All Rivers can say back is one word answers because thus far his whole life he has been a f&$%ing dork. (read about his life in college and how he could never talk to a girl or express himself in words or watch any interview of him at this point in his life). Rivers realizing he will never be the ?cool? guy say ?I?m me, me be, god d*mn, I am? basically expressing his anger to himself because no matter how hard he tries he still can?t be like the cool guy. He then say ?I can sing and hear me know me.? He is basically saying that the only true way for him to get in touch with his feelings, or express himself is to sing about it, and that is how he gets in touch with himself. (see el scorcho lyrics how stupid is it I can?t talk about it I gotta sing about it and make a record of my heart).
    The second verse the girl River?s likes takes off with the cool guy and when River?s sees her leave he says ?oh no it go it gone bye bye? It refers to the girl of his chances with the girl. Using the word ?It? was just the best way to describe his feelings about her, or maybe ?it? describes his chances with her that night. I feel he purposely leaves the lyrics vague because he is wearing his heart on his sleeve in this song. (for the same supposed reason Christ taught in parables)
    Translation of the chorus? if you want to destroy my sweater-if you want to ruin my game. Hold this tread and I?ll walk away- go ahead I won?t do anything. (he is not confrontational, see say it aint so, I can?t confront you I never could do that which might hurt you?) watch me unravel I?ll soon be naked- the pain that will come from you ruining my game will be slow like a sweater slowly coming undone, and in the end will leave me completely empty or naked. Lying on the floor lying on the floor I?ve come undone.-there is no hope left it is over, I am just here by myself? naked.
    He thinks to himself for a second if he would have got with the girl he would have been doing the same thing that the ?cool? guy did to him, I don?t want to destroy your tank top? etc. the sweater is symbolic to River?s being a dork. The tank top and superman skivvies are symbolic to the cool guy being cool.
    Every time I would listen to this song I would relate to Rivers and wish that I could set him up with a girl that would end the pain. I am glad you found someone Rivers. I hope you are happy. As for me? I?m still naked. Love ya bro, your AZ friend.
  • Brent from Indy-ish, InWether it's about loosing a relationship, your insanity, or control, ultimatly this song is describing, superficially, loosing something that once defined you. The sweater metephor is vague enough to where anyone can put it whatever it is they've lost and this song can describe that. I've listened to this song at several eventful times and this song never fails to resonate what's going on. That's just me though
  • Rebecky from Kewaskum, WiThis song is always explained wrong. Its about a realationship falling apart. For the video,everyone wanted it to be a sweater falling apart, but the band said no
  • Leah from Humboldt, Iai love the sweater song! who doesn't love the sweater song?!
  • Erin from Austin, TxI think that this song could either be about losing your relationship or your insanity. Maybe it's both. Maybe he feels like he's losing his insanity and his relationship is falling apart. But anyways, Undone is definately not I Bleed... well at least not in my opinion.
  • Kevin from Guelph, CanadaThis song uses the same chord progression and tempo as the song "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band. I once played a setlist with both the songs melded together. As long as your bassist can really make it work, it sounds great!
  • Nick from Arlington Heights, IlThis song is pretty much an exact reworking of a song called "I Bleed" by Pixies (musically, not lyrically).

    Didn't know that until I bought Doolittle a month ago..heard the song and was like "holy crap it's the sweater song!"

  • Matt from Orlando, FlI believe Rivers posted on his blog that he initially heard the sweater metaphor from a teacher.
  • Steve from Tillsonburg / Hamilton, CanadaThis song is definitely not about going insane at all. I read on a more officail band related site that it is about the feeling of lost love, I forget where though. River's hilmself has said it is about: "The feeling you get when the train stops and the little guy comes knockin' on your door. It was supposed to be a sad song, but everyone thinks it's hilarious." (http://rivers.maladroit.com/songmeanings.html) It's not going insane, but "the end of the line", realizing and coming to grips with something enjoyable being over.
  • Carolyn from Roch Hills, Mii know its so cool that they gave that guy a guitar! ok i dont know if this song is about being insain or a bad relationship. but its still an awesome song cause it makes you think. the dialogue at the begining is also rad.
  • Steve from Grand Rapids, MiWhen they played this song at their Grand Rapids show (along with foo fighters) they picked a guy from the audience to play along on acoustic guitar. The nice guys they are, they let him keep the guitar
  • Lexie from Sydney, Australiathe people on the .com boards are all n00bs and know nothing about weezer, go to www.weezernation.com
  • Trent from Poteau, Okthis song is not about going insane, it's about a relationship that's on the rocks... and that's causing him mental instability... 'if you want to destroy my sweater, hold this thread as i walk away' basically means, if you want to destroy our relationship, you can pull it apart one pice at a time, but i'll just walk away and end it first. also note the 'lets just be friends and walk away' in the part about 'i don't want to destroy your tanktop... i'd hate to see you lying there in your superman skivvies, lying on the floor you've come undone' that's my interperitation of the song, as well as the general consensus of all the other weezer freaks on the forums at www.weezer.com
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThe awesomest word is at the beginning- stoked. Great song, and at the end it's like, yeah there I go, I've finally gone insane.
  • Lexie from Sydney, Australiathe people talking at the begininng of the song are bassist Matt Sharp, and Karl Koch(who is often refered to as the 5th member of the band)

    Matt: Hey bra', how we doin' man?
    Karl: Awright.
    Matt: It's been a while man, Life's so rad!
    This band's my favorite man, don't ya
    love 'em?
    Karl: Yeah.
    Matt: Aw man, you wan't a beer?
    Karl: Awright.
    Matt: Aw man, this is the best. I'm so glad
    we're all back together and stuff.
    This is great man.
    Karl: Yeah.
    Matt: Hey, d'you know about the party after
    the show?
    Karl: Yeah.
    Matt: Aw man, it's gonna be the best, I'm
    so stoked! Take it easy bra'.

    Mykel: Hey, what's up?
    Karl: Not Much.
    Mykel: Did you hear about the party?
    Karl: Yeah.
    Mykel: I think I'm gonna go but, um, my
    friends don't really wanna go.
    Could I get a ride?

    This was the bands first video. It featured the band playing the song with dogs running around the set.
  • Mike from Cincinnati, OhI love this song by Weezer. Stephen's right, it's good for people to be noticing this really good band, and this is one of their best songs.
  • Stephen from New Haven, CtI'm so happy people are finally commenting on weezer, because they actually have so great music and some of their lyrics are deeper than you think. I think this song has something to do with being in control then losing, like Derek said. The sweater is their comfort, and they are slowly losing it (coming undone)
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